The Bowl That Never Was

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Project by thewoodworker01 posted 01-28-2013 12:26 AM 1507 views 1 time favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well I was making a Chip n’ Dip bowl in shop class. It was made out of oak and walnut. The walnut I brought from my house to the shop at the school and the oak was from the school. The oak had been at the school for a couple of months. Whereas the walnut was not. I took the walnut in and immediately started working on the bowl. After i straighted all the boards and cut them to length, width, etc. I started to glue up the boards. After glueing them up, I rouned it out on their big 20” bandsaw. The next day is when I found all the CRACKS. AHHHHHHH!!! All that work for nothing! Mother nature managed to split the bowl in a number of places. There were cracks going through the full 4 inches of thickness. There were Cracks in almost every walnut piece.

I think it was because the walnut wanted to expand and contract because of the moisture content in the school. The oak was already use to the moisture content, so it didn’t want to move very much. Since the oak not wanting to move, and the walnut wanting too, The only option for the walnut was to completely split itself. The longest crack was about 6 or 7 inches into the bowl, and the hole 4 inches in thickness. (Picture 6)

Since it was now wasted, I thought I better finish it off. I took it (with a couple buddies of mine) and we throw it into an iced over creek on my property. After smashing through the ice with a cinder block, we finially throw the bowl in. Then we found out the bowl floats!. Come on, this thing doesn’t want to leave me!!! In about 10 years I’m going to bring those same buddies over and were going to dive in the creek and see if its still down there… only time will tell.

Please check out the video on YouTube…

-- Most people say "Measure Twice, Cut Once." I say, "Cut Twice, Measure Once".

3 comments so far

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 2550 days

#1 posted 01-28-2013 01:00 AM

ha ha ha…..great story. A bitter-sweet one but a great story anyway.

Whats the saying??

If you dont succeed… try, try again.

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2330 days

#2 posted 01-28-2013 03:29 AM

The walnut must have had quite a bit of moisture in it. Time to buy a moisture meter, or use the poor man’s meter, a bathroom scale.

PS. To get around the thing floating, I’d suggest using lignum vitae or similar. They are heavier than water.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View Coloneldon's profile


29 posts in 3471 days

#3 posted 01-29-2013 03:07 PM

Good lesson to learn. This will happen 8 out of 10 time no matter the moisture content. So many directional changes in the grain will always be unstable. That is why when we do segmented bowls we take great care to keep all the grain going in the same direction (around the bowl, gluing end grain) the bricklaying of the rings give the bowl it’s strength but allows the wood to move in and out—lessens the chance of splitting. Also, make sure all wood used is good an dry, no green wood should be used in segmented work.

Best of luck in the future, turning bowls is very fun, segmented is a blast.

Col d

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